Before Covid-19 turned our world upside down, retailers were already arm-wrestling to grab - and keep - the attention of consumers and their spending power in store and increasingly online. Once again, the big brands and disruptors are having to innovate to keep ahead of the crowd.
In recent years, the growth in online shopping saw department stores and popular brands like Nike and Apple compete through the creation of destination stores. Significant investment went into 'bricks and mortar' experiences to lure shoppers in, including specially curated ranges and personalisation of products. This included a range of services - why not shop, pause for lunch and get your hair or nails done all under one roof?
The disruption from Covid has once again required retailers and big brands to re-think their strategy, including moving the customer experience online and bringing it much closer to home. Additionally, the economic challenges being faced by many households mean that brand loyalty is up for grabs: the demand for private label products is a rapidly growing market. We are no longer creatures of habit and our needs as consumers are rapidly changing.
Who will be the winners of the next chapter in Retail? Only time will tell - but those who have invested in multi-channel engagement with their customers have a strong head start. In 2020, the rule book on consumer behaviours has gone out the window and disruption is the new normal.